No. 71 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.71 Squadron was the first 'Eagle' Squadron, manned by American volunteers in the year before the American entry into the Second World War. The squadron was formed on 19 September 1940, at first without aircraft, and then with the obsolete Brewster Buffalo. The Hawker Hurricane arrived in November, and defensive patrols began in the following February. Later in the year the squadron took part in offensive sweeps over northern France.

The squadron's first victories came on 2 July 1941 during an offensive sweep near Lille, when three Bf 109s were claimed, one by Bill Dunn, who on 27 August 1941 became the first American fighter ace of the Second World War. By that point the squadron had converted to the Spitfire, and it was still flying the Supermarine fighter when on 29 September No.71 Squadron RAF became the 334th Fighter Squadron, USAAF, part of the 4th Fighter Group.

Aircraft
October-November 1940: Brewster Buffalo I
November 1940-May 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
April-August 1941: Hawker Hurricane IIB
August-September 1941: Supermarine Spitfire IIA
September 1941-September 1942: Supermarine Spitfire VB

Location
September-November 1940: Church Fenton
November 1940-April 1941: Kirton-in-Lindsey
April-June 1941: Martlesham Heath
June-December 1941: North Weald
December 1941-May 1942: Martlesham Heath
May-June 1942: Debden
June-July 1942: Gravesend
July-August 1942: Debden
August-September 1942: Gravesend

Squadron Codes: XR

Duty
Fighter Command

Books

Hurricane Aces 1941-45, Andrew Thomas. This book covers the later career of the Hurricane, starting with its final months as a front line fighter in Britain in 1941 before moving on to look at its career in North Africa, the Mediterranean and over the jungles of Burma [see more]
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Spitfire Mark I/II Aces 1939-41, Dr Alfred Price. Slightly different to many books in the Aircraft of the Aces series, Price splits his material, concentrating on the wider picture in the first part of the book before looking at eleven of the top Spitfire aces in the last two chapters of the book [see more]
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Spitfire Mark V Aces, 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price. A well written and nicely balanced look at the combat career of the Spitfire Mk V and of the men who flew it. The Spitfire V fought in more theatres than the more famous Mk I/II, including over France in 1941, on Malta, in North Africa and even in northern Australia. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (26 June 2009), No. 71 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/71_wwII.html

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